Cherry Lambic Sorbet: Keeping the Spirit of Unmoggable Vanity Sets

There’s a perfect outfit for my rogue I keep wearing two expansions later–but the catch is that it can’t be mogged. Yet in the process of finding a suitable replacement, a fun challenge which I share below, I began to wonder if transmog could unintentionally stifle creativity. It can inspire players to collect more items and appreciate in-game art, but it’s also sad when players will ignore unique items simply because they can’t be transmogged. Players have dressed up in vanity gear for screenshots for years, and it’s good to remember that it’s still okay to collect the awesome cloth set on your tank or save bank space for the fun holiday dress.

Also, in keeping with the tradition of post naming, today’s post name is brought to you by this sorbet. It’s pink, tart, refreshing, and exhilarating, like my rogue’s outfit.

This is my outfit I wore for all boss kill screenshots over several years, as well ask afking in town. I wore it before I completed my glaive set 60+ kills of Illidan Stormrage later–in fact, that screenshot was taken right after I finished my set during ICC, with the help of the other two raiding rogues in the picture I did all sorts of achievements and mount runs with. Collecting warglaives with the help of friends (after that caused my Tier 6 guild to die) was pretty meaningful, but there’s also many memories associated with feeling exhilerated after completing a hardmode, getting a Feat of Strength, and putting on my new title and fun gear for a raid screenshot.

From the guild forums–we’ll return to the other outfits in the screenshot later.

The concept is similar to my previous demon hunter outfit with the elaborate shoulders and kilt. But the pink is pushier. The full meaning of sanguine comes to mind, both cheerful and bloody. The pink/purple tones match the colors of her face and tattoos, while providing a visual contrast to the green glaives that isn’t totally reminiscent of a red/green traffic light. And periodically the shoulders shoot out tentacles.

The armor in the set is as follows:

Helm: Cursed Vision of Sargeras
Shoulder: Conqueror’s Terrorblade Pauldrons
Chest: Battered Leather Harness
Gloves: Conqueror’s Terrorblade Gauntlets
Legs: Mystic Sarong
Feet: Sandals of the Insurgent
Weapons: Warglaives of Azzinoth
Back: Shadowmoon Destroyer’s Drape

It’s not only the glaives that have meaning–many of the armor pieces do as well. The Cursed Vision was already explained in the last article, but the Shadowmoon Destroyer’s Drape hearkens from that Black Temple era as well. The shoulder/gloves are from a exciting raiding time, when I first started out as an officer in Ulduar and pushed the guild to complete (and regularly farm) Yogg 0, hoping I wasn’t making any noob leadership mistakes.

The problem here is that the chestpiece and weapons aren’t moggable due to item rarity–common-quality and legendaries. (And I never cared about a belt for screenshots.) I was left with an outfit that had tons of meaning and clearly conveyed my character’s identity, but couldn’t work for arbitrary reasons. I tried brainstorming solutions ever since transmog was released–but it just wasn’t the same without glaives–the color balance was off, but more importantly, the outfit lost a lot of personal meaning. I’ve also gotten some fanart of Perc over the years, all inspired by that outfit, so it’s very strange to not wear that distinctive shirt either.

In modifying the outfit, I decided I had to find items in my bank that also had fun memories associated with them, instead of bland matching items that would only remind me this outfit was a compromise. Here’s what I settled upon (new pieces in italics):

Helm: Cursed Vision of Sargeras
Shoulder: Conqueror’s Terrorblade Pauldrons
Chest: Feral Harness
Shirt: Precious’ Ribbon
Gloves: Conqueror’s Terrorblade Gauntlets
Belt: Webspinner Cord
Legs: Mystic Sarong
Feet: Sandals of the Insurgent
Weapons: The Castigator, Alysra’s Razor (heroic)
Back: Onyxia Scale Cloak

The Feral Harness is one of the few moggable leather harnesses. While it’s darker in color (and slightly less flattering with the high waist and thick armbands) than the Battered Leather Harness, it conveys a similar sanguine mood. The glaives previously served as a color contrast, and in lieu of them, some parts of the transmog outfit need to be more vivid for balance. The contrast between Perc’s skin and the chest looked too extreme and visually distracting though, so I looked at shirts to soften it. I also used a darker belt to flatter the busy waistline and bring out the black in the helm and glove accents.

What made the outfit personal for me though is the cape, mace, and shirt. The old cape didn’t seem to match as well with a chestpiece that was more reddish, so I settled upon the Onyxia one that had a wine border (and +5 fire resist enchant!). It was one of the first items I got when raiding–making those capes was a big deal and only a few people got them per week due to limited supplies. Blackwing Lair required them–even in later expansions, undermanning content without them and getting hit by Shadowflame was hilariously bad. It also reminded me of an early way I tried to be a helpful and good raider–making sure I was prepared as much as possible when it came to resistance gear, to make up for some unlucky tier drops. And the cape pattern itself looks awesome, like it’s got some realistic bulk and protection to it from the dragon scales.

The mace is another vanilla relic. Raiding wasn’t as organized in vanilla, at least on my old server, and players frequently subbed in to raid with other guilds if their own guild wasn’t focusing on a particular instance. (Something that’s been lost, along with raid alliances, with the introduction of guild perks/levels.) As my guild was working on AQ40, I subbed in with another guild focusing on Naxx. Between subbing in and being a rogue that shared tier tokens only with warriors…I didn’t get very much loot. But I kept up on the damage with a clever mix of gear from lower tiers (and laugh whenever a main rogue was ‘up’ for an item, and purchase it without thinking of the stats) and eventually joined that raid fulltime in the next expansion. I never went back to collect much Naxx gear in later patches though–I always passed items to people in my guild that had killed more bosses when it was relevant, since they deserved it more. However, I picked up The Castigator because killing Thaddius was a big deal for my vanilla raid and I liked having a token from it.  (From a visual perspective, the mace is also a lot of fun–it’s strangely delicate and elongated, avoiding the issue of weapons cutting into character hips. And mixing it with a dagger has a certain je ne sais quoi, like my rogue pulled some weapons off the wall, wasn’t concerned with the weapon type, and just started fighting well with them.)

And the shirt has fun social associations–apparently my character’s name auto-corrects to “precious” on iPhones, which has led to some past twitter hilarity. It also softens the dark red of the harness nicely.

I’m happy with the revised outfit because it keeps the spirit of the original outfit while being moggable, but I started thinking more about the whole process and how it’s problematic in some ways–transmog is a great feature, but players approaching it incorrectly can stifle their creativity with it. There’s nothing preventing me from wearing this original outfit outside of fighting max-level mobs. Why can’t I just wear the original outfit while afking in Stormwind or digging up vases in Feralas? Why am I suddenly frustrated that glaives can’t be transmogged? Their meaning and memories aren’t diminshed. Since 4.3, I’ve been focused on finding completely matching and transmoggable outfits, instead of collecting cool armor in general, like I used to for years.

Rogue in healing Black Temple cloth and legendary.

Transmog should allow people to feel free about their visual appearance, not constrained. It should encourage players to rediscover old content in general–if you’re going to ignore learning about some items because it ‘can’t be mogged,’ you’re limiting your experience. Transmog can easily turn into just another form of gear obsession and status in WoW, that makes one lose sight of the larger picture. (Similar to how we argue that people who just care about the epics aren’t ideal raiders.) Do achievements inspire you to do more quirky things in-game? Before Loremaster was an achievement, did you go back to see what any of the old zones were like, or were you uninterested? Would you have baked a chocolate cookie and given it to guidies to make them smile–or did you just make a bunch and spam-click them for You’ll Feel Right as Rain?

Rogue with cloth shoulders and skirt.

Referring back to the Lich King screenshot towards the top, you’ll see a bunch of players wearing special vanity items–some which can be transmogged, some which can’t. There’s Tier 2, Tier 6, Sunwell gear, BoE Plate, Lovely Black dresses, and various legendaries. There’s also a ton of character disguises and effects that are separate from transmog–shrunken characters, ogres, felfire. There’s a lot of creativity behind the items players collected even before they needed to care if they were transmoggable or not. And if players feel locked into wearing an outfit 24/7 or won’t think about collecting certain fun subsets of items because they can’t be mogged, then that’s sad. Casters with Thunderfury, Shamans with Sulfuras, tanks wearing Priest t6, someone RP-walking around Dalaran dressed as an NPC in several armor types–all that is a lot of fun and adds character to the environment.

In Ghostcrawler’s Cataclysm Post Mortem blog, he talks about the fun of Transmogrification:

“One of the great things it’s done, aside from giving players more tools to personalize their characters of course, is make a lot of old content relevant again. Now players are doing old raids and dungeons looking for Transmogrification pieces, and that’s really cool.”

If players only go into an instance looking for a specific Transmogrification piece, they won’t appreciate things like bizarre bug weapons in AQ that don’t fit their current weapon type. Old content will be relevant for a short period of time, losing popularity after players finish a specific set. And if grinding out a piece of gear is the only reason you’re in an instance, and you never want to return after…well, that sounds not very fun.

DK with cloth gloves, leather skirt, mail helm, plate chest, and legendary.

I like how transmog is an expression of individuality. It validates how players have attributed memories and sentimental value to gear for years, and finally gives us a way to express that fuller. I’m glad that I can find a workable version of my red/pink set to wear in instances. But I shouldn’t stop collecting old cloth tier sets on my rogue or let the other unmoggable things in my bank collect dust for screenshots. Just like RL fashion–it’s both a great form of personal expression, yet easy to get stifled with current trends 🙂

Nontier cloth pieces from Firelands, TK fists (do current fist weapons even exist?)

If you like something and it can’t be transmogged, you can still have fun collecting and equipping it. That hasn’t changed in 4.3.


8 thoughts on “Cherry Lambic Sorbet: Keeping the Spirit of Unmoggable Vanity Sets

  1. Jeni’s FTW! Just out of curiosity, are you from Columbus, or did you discover Jeni’s another way? If you are from Cbus, high five from another Arch City denizen 🙂

    I’m not sure how I feel about your argument that transmog stifles creativity. Personally, I tend to start with a unique piece that I like and build a set around that, but I know I see a lot of people on my server just wearing old tier sets. My server never had a lot of people running around in gear that wasn’t their armor type/the most up-to-date gear, but I can definitely see how transmog is taking a lot of that creativity out of the picture.

    And now I’m extremely tempted to go make some cool non-moggable sets for my characters. I think I’ll start with the cute pink cloth set you get in the Draenei starter area. Might need some cherry lambic sorbet to help inspire me…

    • I’m not from Columbus, but there’s a gourmet food place here that stocks Jeni’s so I am always tempted by the seasonal shipments when they come in 🙂

      I think that transmog (for people that haven’t thought about gear before) offers a burst of creativity and then it’s up to the player to go from there–whether it’s opened an appreciation for fun outfits, or if you’re just going to run off to get the shiniest tier/most expensive status thing (haha, more RL fashion parallels). My server wasn’t an RP one but it had a bit of an RP-vibe as one of the original servers, so I often saw people having costume dance parties in SW, etc, legacy raid channels, before transmog happened (something I didn’t think of before–perhaps that could explain the different server experience.)

      The tier comment is interesting because I had some ideas on my next post covering ways to spice up Priest Tier 6–which is awesome, but perhaps a bit overdone in its usual form.

      • Keep an eye out for Jeni’s new Super Pop Cake flavors at your store. They’re excellent, especially the Tres Leches Cake and the Magnolia Mochi.

        I’d love to see spiced up Priest Tier 6! I’m leveling a priest almost exclusively because I think it looks really cute on a gnome, so any tips to personalize it would be cool to have.

      • I personally like mixing and matching pieces of PT6/6 and the BT/MH “copy” gear along with other pieces, so I’m interested in your spiced up look. 😛

  2. Very well said, Perculia! “Stifled” is a good way to express how I’ve felt sometimes about designing new outfits in the Transmogrification era. I’ve felt like I “have” to have all of my outfits be Transmogrification-friendly — all of one armor type, and including items such as shoulders, belts, and gloves that I might otherwise ignore. So yes, it’s wonderful to have a Transmogrification kit to wear while engaging in serious endgame content, but it’s also absolutely wonderful and perfectly fine to have non-Transmogrification-friendly pure RP outfits to wear while doing everything else!

    • I feel that what stifles me most is trying to find good t-mog sets for my lower level mail wearers… some of that stuff is really ugly and doesn’t even match within a set. 😦

  3. Very nice post! The thought you give to each piece of your rogue’s outfit is amazing. I really like that you touched on how transmog can be ‘stifling’ though. I have felt that a few times when trying to put an outfit together and there just isn’t the right pair of plate shoulders, or the stupid mace I have his is one hand but the one I want is main hand. I hope that Blizzard loosens up some of the restrictions. I know they mentioned since it was a new feature they started with more rules to hopefully take some away in the future. I also like seeing your leather sets, as I mostly ‘mog Draenei, I really have no idea what that armor class has to offer.

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